• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Poetry Comparison - 'Telephone Conversation' by Wole Soyinka and 'Ballad of the Landlord' by Langston Hughes.

Extracts from this document...


Poetry Comparison The two poems 'Telephone Conversation' by Wole Soyinka and 'Ballad of the Landlord' by Langston Hughes both focus on the issue of racism. Thus the poems have a similar theme but present the theme in a variety of different ways. The backgrounds of the poets tell us a lot about their intentions. Soyinka is a Nigerian who was raised as a Christian. He is also highly educated and went to two universities, one a Nigerian university the other an English university. His background shows he mingled into western society but he was never treated as an equal. Soyinka wrote political literature and was arrested for seizing radio stations and making a political broadcast about the fairness of the Nigerian elections. He was politically oppressed and his whole life has been a struggle. He often voiced his opinions on the Nigerian government and the racism he has experienced. His intentions are quite clearly shown in 'Telephone Conversation' where he illustrates a typical example of racism, possibly autobiographical, through the absurd reaction of the landlady. If he had gone to see the flat, the landlady would have lied and told him it was already taken so it would have been directly racist. ...read more.


The use of these words gives the poem more depth and individuality, which can fit nicely into the tempo of the poem. Both poets use many different poetic devices and their own style of writing in their poems. Soyinka uses enjambments often: "Silenced transmission of Pressurized good-breathing" This makes the poem flow and adds depth to the description by lengthening the line. Which is the same reason, Hughes uses enjambments in his poem: "When you come up yourself It's a wonder you don't fall down." But Hughes uses a forced structure of enjambment of appearing on the second line of every stanza, which makes the poem more rhythmic and jazzy. Hughes use a jazzy, musical style in his poem thus it is called 'Ballad of the Landlord'. By using structure enjambments and a rhyming pattern in the second and fourth lines of each stanza: "Landlord, landlord, My roof has sprung a leak. Don't you 'member I told you about it Way last week? He makes the poem flow like music and gives it a beat and tempo. Hughes makes good use of the musical style by creating tension in the fist six stanzas like many musical pieces and then like music; the poem speeds up giving a dramatic effect "Copper's whistle! ...read more.


Both poems show you racism and its effects on people and Hughes and Soyinka aren't just writing about their personal experiences but also showing you that these things happened to many black people. The two poets write their poems in different ways, using different techniques, which give the poems their originality and identity. Soyinka uses humour to illustrate the ignorance of the landlady and shows how stupid she is when she does not pick up on the sarcasm until the end: ' "Foolishly, madam - by sitting down, has turned My bottom raven black...." ' This humour makes the poem more interesting and indulging. Hughes uses the element of music to make his poem fast, upbeat and enjoyable to read. The musical beat compliments the stanzas in which the character is facing a hard ordeal with his landlord. The hardship shown by the poets made me think how unjust and prejudice our forefathers were to blacks from slavery to not letting them get adequate housing in the western world. Hughes summed it up with the way the police treated his character with such efficiency and how harsh the jail sentence is for being a little assertive. The two poets illustrate the everyday hardships which black people faced and still do is some parts of the world and that may make us a bit more assertive with our actions and their effects on people. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Ted Hughes section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Ted Hughes essays

  1. Examine the significance and treatment of the natural world in the poetry of one ...

    The word 'ands' almost brings Hughes character to life, maybe making him more believable as a real person or a farmer. Ironically Hughes is the one getting hurt while trying to start a tractor that has no feelings or emotion, yet it is the tractor that the audience are made to feel pity for.

  2. How does Ted Hughes convey the ruthless power and violence in animals through the ...

    In this stanza there is a change in emphasis from the hawk itself to its surroundings. The hawk does not take pleasure in "the high trees", "the air's buoyancy", or "the sun's ray". They are there for the hawk's "convenience" and "advantage".

  1. Using a Selection of 20th Century Poems Compare and Contrast the Treatment of ...

    Fields of wheat speaking is a bizarre concept and adds well to the peculiarity of the poem. The poem is made up of five stanzas. The first has five lines, the second has three, the third and fourth have four and the fifth has three lines.

  2. Compare and Contrast a 20th Century and non-20th Century Animal Poem

    Once beautiful gracious birds are reduced to 'cheap tarts'. Ted Hughes makes his audience think about the conditions of animals in captivity of the zoo, the 'boa constrictors coil is a fossil,' the 'tiger and lion' are 'fatigued with indolence.' The second stanza is particularly strong, the poet uses alliteration to emphasise 'cage after cage' being seemingly empty.

  1. A Critical Comparison Of Ted Hughes Poems: The Stag And Roe-Deer.

    Ted Hughes seems to believe that he and the Deer live in different worlds. Hughes uses the word "planted", which enables us to imagine the Deer more clearly, as he is referring to the tree-like way the antlers of the Deer grow.

  2. "Hughes thinks more highly of animals than humans." How far does his poetry support ...

    Whereas he describes humans in an uncomfortable way to give the impression that they are out of place. He extends this point with the aspect of time, there are several references to time each have a slightly different meaning. "The owl is pale on the gate post like a clock

  1. Concentrating on one Poem by each Poet, Compare and Contrast the ways in which ...

    This comes through strongest in Wordsworth's poems. He gives the impression that nature is like a religion to him by continually saying things like 'Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife, come, hear the linnet,' and things that are similar in both poems.

  2. Using two or three poems which you have read explore the ways in which ...

    Hughes is laughing at the white people complaining about not being black, "I'm so ashamed of being white," also at the democratic process and him self. He uses satirical humour at the dinner party by poking at establishment. He acknowledges that "I know I am the Negro Problem" and is aware they have to be polite about him.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work